The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love to read cookbooks. The good ones have yummy photographs, I get to “sample” meals that take days to fix, and best of all, there are no calories involved. So when I picked up The Art of French Pastry I was set for a treat–and I wasn’t disappointed.
The author’s father was a baker in Alsace, France, and the young man apprenticed to a professional pastry chef, and then emigrated to America where he established a famous bakery school. The cookbook is part memoir, part a precise methodology of the BEST way to do things. And what things!
Napoleons, macarons, raspberry sachertortes, pate a choux, and of course, chocolate eclairs.
He tells you why to use sea salt (table salt is too salty for pastry), why you should weigh your ingredients rather than use measuring cups (more exact), and why you put your custard in an ice bath before refrigerating (the eggs won’t spoil).
He cautions you to read every recipe twice before starting, and often to allow several days to complete a masterpiece so that the flavors have a chance to meld.
In between recipes he shares tales of ruining a cake he was delivering because he was paying too much attention to a pretty girl instead of the truck that pulled out in front of his bicycle; making 4000 eclairs; and dealing with an alcoholic master chef that never let up.
If you like to cook, or even if you like to dream about cooking, this book is for you!